We thought that the parts of the trip under the direct control of Outlook Safaris were excellent, in strong contrast to the rather poor parts controlled by the Kruger Park itself.
The pick-up in Joburg was punctual and the transfer to Skukusa was excellent - we felt safe being driven by Moss through some pretty awful weather! We were disappointed by the rude staff member that we met in the restaurant at Skukusa, and were very disappointed by the quality of the accommodation. Our rondawel looked as if had been built in the 60's and not touched since, although we noticed that some of them had been modernised. The lack of electric points meant that we had to turn off the fridge to charge camera batteries, but the fridge kept tripping the power supply when we attempted to turn it back on! The room was very basic and, in our opinion, not commensurate with the relatively high price of the holiday.
The first game drive - a sunset drive - was also disappointing. This was run by a Kruger NP warden with relatively poor command of English and had over 20 passengers in a big truck. This was far from the small group that we had expected. Unfortunately, nobody had explained that this was a one-off and that the other game drives would be in smaller vehicles, so we were feeling pretty down at the thought of spending the next couple of days in the same way! The noisy truck scared most of the animals away, and so we saw little - not a good start. We also thought that driving through the bush at night with a couple of ineffective floodlights was a waste of time. It did not help that the big group was very mixed, some being new arrivals keen to see anything, others having been there several days and not interested in the more common animals.
Fortunately, all the other drives were in a small vehicle with Wilhelm and were much better. Nevertheless, on one drive, there were 10 passengers which we thought was too many. It meant that people were always bobbing up and down, interfering with the view of others, and also making it difficult to keep a camera steady! A maximum of 6 in a vehicle would be much better so that everybody has an outside seat. Some game drivers were more successful than others, as one would expect, but the good ones were very good. We have previously been to the Masai Mara (Kenya) 6 times where the wildlife viewing is very different! There is a lot more vegetation in the Kruger which makes it very difficult to get good, unobstructed views of the animals. Nevertheless, we were reasonably happy with the game viewing experience and Wilhelm proved to be a good guide (even if he did fail to deliver the promised leopard!).
We thoroughly enjoyed our open air breakfasts and dinners at the Outlook Safari base and thought that Jonathan did an excellent job in pretty basic surroundings. The availability of liberal amounts of wine was also very welcome!
We also enjoyed the return trip via Pilgrims Rest, the Lisbon waterfall, and the stunning 3 Rondavels in Blyder Canyon. Truly magnificent scenery and a good way to finish off the trip. Again, we were safely driven by Moss through a torrential thunderstorm and returned to our friend's house in Joburg.
Dr Richard Anthony Harding, February 2011